The European baseline series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006: Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA)

Wolfgang Uter, Christiane Rämsch, Werner Aberer, Fabio Ayala, Anna Balato, Aiste Beliauskiene, Anna Belloni Fortina, Andreas Bircher, Jochen Brasch, Mahbub M U Chowdhury, Pieter-Jan Coenraads, Marie-Louise Schuttelaar, Sue Cooper, Maria Teresa Corradin, Peter Elsner, John S C English, Manigè Fartasch, Vera Mahler, Peter J Frosch, Thomas FuchsDavid J Gawkrodger, Ana-Maria Gimènez-Arnau, Cathy M Green, Helen L Horne, Riitta Jolanki, Codagh M King, Beata Krêcisz, Marta Kiec-Swierczynska, Anthony D Ormerod, David I Orton, Andrea Peserico, Tapio Rantanen, Thomas Rustemeyer, Jane E Sansom, Dagmar Simon, Barry N Statham, Mark Wilkinson, Axel Schnuch

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159 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Continual surveillance based on patch test results has proved useful for the identification of contact allergy. OBJECTIVES: To provide a current view on the spectrum of contact allergy to important sensitizers across Europe. PATIENTS/METHODS: Clinical and patch test data of 19 793 patients patch tested in 2005/2006 in the 31 participating departments from 10 European countries (the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies' (ESSCA) were descriptively analysed, aggregated to four European regions. RESULTS: Nickel sulfate remains the most common allergen with standardized prevalences ranging from 19.7% (central Europe) to 24.4% (southern Europe). While a number of allergens shows limited variation across the four regions, such as Myroxylon pereirae (5.3-6.8%), cobalt chloride (6.2-8.8%) or thiuram mix (1.7-2.4%), the differences observed with other allergens may hint on underlying differences in exposures, for example: dichromate 2.4% in the UK (west) versus 4.5-5.9% in the remaining EU regions, methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone 4.1% in the South versus 2.1-2.7% in the remaining regions. CONCLUSIONS: Notwithstanding residual methodological variation (affecting at least some 'difficult' allergens) tackled by ongoing efforts for standardization, a comparative analysis as presented provides (i) a broad overview on contact allergy frequencies and (ii) interesting starting points for further, in-depth investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • adult
  • allergens
  • dermatitis, allergic contact
  • dermatitis, atopic
  • dermatitis, occupational
  • Europe
  • female
  • humans
  • male
  • middle aged
  • population surveillance
  • prevalence
  • clinical epidemiology
  • contact allergy
  • patch testing


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